Every Thursday during the pandemic, we’ll be checking in on members of the jewelry trade in an attempt glean shareable tips and tricks for a better and more productive quarantine (and for many, reopening).
Today we hear from Rebecca Romijn, founder of Los Angeles–based jewelry line Charlie Dolly, which she launched early this year. Romijn is sheltering in place with her 11-year-old twin daughters, Charlie and Dolly, and her husband, actor Jerry O’Connell.
JCK: Hi, Rebecca! Hoping you are safe and healthy. How has quarantine been for you and your family?
Rebecca Romijn: Hi! We’re hanging in there! It’s a very strange time, but there have been a lot of silver linings. We keep saying our kids are going to look back on this as one of the happiest times of their lives. They’re so happy, I guess I probably will look back on it and feel the same.
We’re in Calabasas on an old horse ranch that used to be a brothel in the 1930s, called Wagon Wheel Ranch. The house is fairly small, but we’re on 16 acres. Besides our daughters, we live with our five huge dogs and three cats. I found it in 1999 while hiking with my old dog. It’s a little rough, and it’s paradise for us. We’re very remote. We’re on satellite internet, which is fine for our family normally. But now that we’re all online at the same time with school, Zoom calls, downloading, uploading, streaming, etc. Trying to be professional is sometimes a challenge.
How have the closures and the quarantines impacted Charlie Dolly and the way you and your teammates work on this brand?
Starting a fine jewelry line right before lockdown wasn’t ideal (we launched in February). I’m thrilled to report that we are still able to fulfill orders. And even though I expected nothing, amazingly, we have had a few! Charlie Dolly is handmade in Los Angeles with a two-to-three-week lead time, so I don’t keep much inventory. I’m not going anywhere, either is the collection, and I’m happy to wait it all out.
Have you been designing in quarantine? Has it been a productive time?
Right before quarantine, I was starting to work with sapphires and adding more color to the collection. I also had a couple prototypes made that I’ve been wearing all through quarantine. My favorite is this double threader with baguettes. You sew it through two holes. It’s comfortable to sleep in and gorgeous and casual for everyday. I never take it off.
What have been the silver linings of staying home so much? What’s been the hardest thing about it?
First off, my cooking has gotten real good, if I do say so myself (maybe nobody else will, so I will, haha). I was determined to learn how to make chimichurri sauce, because I love fresh chimichurri. I’ve nailed it. It’s perfect on everything: steak, omelettes, chicken, sandwiches, etc. My daughters were baking every day for the first month of quarantine, and I had to beg them to stop because they weren’t eating it, I was. With my daughters, we’ve had it easy because of their age. They have tackled online school beautifully and can help themselves to breakfast and snacks. We’re able to have interesting conversations about everything, and they’re so reasonable! I can’t imagine how much harder this quarantine must be for people with much younger kids.
Because we live on an old horse property, we have old horse trails here that we hike with our dogs everyday. The wildflowers are beautiful right now. It’s a nice time to reflect, meditate, and connect with nature. It gives space to think about how Mother Nature will always find her balance, even if it is though disaster or pandemic. We have to listen to her. We have no control over nature. We need to take care of our own health, it’s the only thing we can control right now. What’s the hardest thing about it? What I wouldn’t do for a pedicure….
How has the pandemic changed your feelings or plans when it comes to the future of the business?
In general, the pandemic has temporarily changed our relationship with time. I’m not ever in a hurry these days. For example, I’ve been enjoying baths instead of showers. I’m trying to apply that to all aspects of my life right now. We’ve become so accustomed to immediate gratification, and this is a nice reminder to be in it for the marathon, not the sprint. I’m practicing patience and keeping the faith that the pendulum will swing back to exactly where it needs to be, however long that may take.
What do you think will be important to jewelry consumers once the country gets past this pandemic?
We will have a bruised economy for a while. I’m not expecting many people to have disposable income to spend on fine jewelry for a long time. I’m happy to announce that we are able to recycle existing stones, with either my designs or something the client designs. As we all do our closet/junk drawer/storage clean outs, I’m hoping customers will also clean out their jewelry boxes and breathe new life into their jewelry. Putting on something fresh and sparkly is a real pick-me-up!
What have you been doing to reduce stress during this time? Any movie/TV/music/magazine/book suggestions?
My husband and I spent the first month watching foreign horror films every night. We saw films from Korea, Japan, France, Sweden, Holland, Spain…. My favorite was a French film called Raw. Platform was also great. Initially, I also wanted to find something mindless with lots of seasons, that I could binge watch. I went with Married at First Sight. It was perfect—10 seasons, not emotionally draining, I could take breaks and resume easily. It’s a reality show, and the premise is literally the title. Matchmaking experts pair up people to meet at the altar for the first time. Then they are followed on their honeymoon and move in together for two months before deciding if they want to stay married or split. It was exactly what I wanted. But I watched it all. So that’s that. Now I’m looking for recommendations, please!
Top: Rebecca Romijn working at home with her dogs Holiday and Pirate (all photos courtesy of Rebecca Romijn)
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